Lower the houselights and raise the curtain: It’s time for the show to begin.
Miami Theater Center, formerly the Playground Theater, is adding a new medium to its growing repertoire: film.
This October, the theater will return to its roots. Cinema was the theater’s original role back when it opened its doors as the Paramount Movies in 1946.
Movies have not been screened at the theater in nearly two decades, said Heidi Rettig, a spokeswoman for the theater, at 9806 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.
The history of the theater, she said, has several dark marks, particular during the time it served as a 99-cent movie theater showing not-so-kid-friendly skin flicks.
But now, with its abundance of programs for children, adults and skilled actors, Rettig said the center is ready to show movies once more.
“Film is an important part of our history,” she said.
Movies shown at the theater will continue the educational messages and the cultural aspects of the works performed in live performances, she said. For example, the theater is preparing to show Anton Chekov’s play Three Sisters, so it may decide to pair a Russian documentary or movie to go along with it.
“The movies will give context to the work we’re doing onstage,” Rettig said.
The theater plans to host 250 showings in the coming year and hopes to partner with film festivals and production companies to bring art house and independent movies and documentaries to its screen.
The first movie it will show will be Blue Skies, starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Joan Caulfield. It was the first movie screened at the theater back when it opened in the 1940s.
The screening will take place on Oct. 13, which is the date of the Miami Shores Street Fair. Rettig said after people take in the food and entertainment of the fair, both children and adults can enjoy the movie at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling the theater.
Miami Shores Councilman Jesse Walters said he’s hoping that bringing movies to the village will attract more people to its downtown area.
Movies, Walters explains, were outlawed in Miami Shores until April of this year, when the council voted to allow movies to once again be shown within the village.
The older community was concerned about the theater returning to its questionable past. But a younger, newer group of people pushed for the idea, he said.
Walters said the center’s plans are “a pretty big thing” for the community, especially businesses around the theater that could see more patronage.
And he mentioned how fun seeing a movie in a retro-style, vintage theater will be for a new generation.
“I think it’s going to be a treat for the kids,” he said.